A well-known Aberdeenshire farm has launched a new range of home-grown hemp seed oil.
Castleton Farm, based on the outskirts of Laurencekirk, is usually associated with soft fruit production however its owners – Ross and Anna Mitchell – have diversified into hemp seed oil.
The hemp crop was grown on the farm, which is home to a farm shop and cafe, and the oil was produced by pressing the raw hemp seeds in a heat-free process to preserve all the raw nutrients.
“We are delighted to be able to reveal our latest Castleton Farm product, a hemp seed oil, which is natural and full of goodness,” said Anna Mitchell.
She said the oil, which was officially launched at this year’s Royal Highland Show, tastes similar to walnuts or sunflower seeds and has a darker, more intense, colour that other oils such as vegetable oil.
Mrs Mitchell said the oil contained 40% less saturated fat than olive oil and its ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids was 3:1 – the ideal ratio for health benefits to humans.
“It’s a great alternative for vegans to supplements made of fish,” added Mrs Mitchell.
“It’s even been shown to improve skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.”
Ross Mitchell said the farm was a member of the Scottish Hemp Growers Association, which has started commercial production of hemp oil as part of a successful partnership with the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute.
He said growing hemp not only created the raw ingredient for a new product for the farm business to sell, but also helped its environmental credentials.
Mr Mitchell added: “Growing hemp improves soil organic matter and structure, as well as absorbing more CO2 than it takes to cultivate.